Health and Wellness

Engineers Make A Titanium Rib Cage Using 3D Printer

3D printing is a form of technology that has come along leaps and bounds over the last decade or so. Many engineers and developers are now making new products and objects for the very first time with 3D printers and are seeing how they can be used in real life scenarios.

 

Doctors in Spain may have made one of the biggest breakthroughs in the world of 3D printing. They have played a part in the creation of the first 3D printed rib cage which is made out of titanium. This breakthrough is considered to be something that could change the way we look at surgery and medicine forever.

3d printed ribcage

CSIRO YouTube

 

The Patient

The patient in Spain who needed a new rib cage was a 54-year-old man who had been suffering from cancer. Part of his rib cage had to be removed in order to remove a cancerous tumor and as a result needed some form of replacement. It was his doctors in Spain who decided that 3D printing could well be the way forward to give him a replacement rib cage that would be made to measure and would keep him comfortable.

3d printed ribcage design

CSIRO YouTube

 

The Design

Engineers working at a company in Australia were given the task of creating a titanium rib cage for this cancer patient. They used CT scans of the man’s chest to get an accurate measurement of his rib cage. They then used a 3D printer which made the rib cage using a laser beam that melted titanium powder in order to build the completed rib cage. It was completed within a remarkably short space of time and was said to have been made on a metal 3D printer worth $1.3 million.

3d printed rib cage process

CSIRO YouTube

 

 

What The Future Holds

While this is considered to be a groundbreaking medical case, it is thought that this kind of procedure will soon become commonplace. In fact, with metal 3D printers becoming more popular and more affordable, it is thought that the vast majority of medical units and hospitals will soon be using 3D printers in order to manufacture artificial implants. It is thought that in a few years time, doctors will be able to order specific implants whenever they are needed and have them made to measure within a very short space of time.

 

Having said that, chances are that procedures like this one will be restricted as a last resort. This process proved to be helpful for the caner patient mainly because he required such extensive reconstruction. With the overall procedure being quite complex and detailed, many medical professionals will probably only go down the 3D printing route when they have no other choice or when they think it is necessary. This however will not limit the effect that this kind of breakthrough treatment can have on the medical world and indeed in the world of 3D printing.

3d printed ribcage

CSIRO YouTube

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